Saturday, May 17

The Advocate by Randy Singer

Raised in ancient Rome, Theophilus studies to become an advocate (read: lawyer). Studying the works of revered philosophers, he is passionate and knowledgeable. One of his first positions is as an assessore (a sort of adviser) to Pontius Pilate. It is Theophilus who whispers to Pilate, “Offer to release Barabbas” when Jesus is brought is brought before them. Theophilus believes in justice, and in the years that follow he proves himself as a capable advocate, standing up to likes of Caligula. His biggest test will be to stand before Nero and defend a man named Paul. While Theophilus be able to prevent the execution of a man he knows to be innocent?

Randy Singer is best known for his legal thrillers, though with the exception of The Cross Examination of Jesus Christ, they all were set in modern times. With The Advocate, Singer seeks to bring the world of Rome to the readers, weaving in cultural details, biblical events, and the legal setting of the time. The cases that Theophilus experiences are far different from the American court rooms we are used to reading about.

While I am no historian, Singer seems to have done an excellent job presenting the culture of Rome. Since this story intersects directly with parts of the Bible, it helps give a sense of what life may have been like. The look at Rome’s religion was particularly interesting.

Most of The Advocate is written from Theophilus’ perspective, in first person form. A few times throughout the story, Singer makes the jump to follow a different character, but switches to a third person narrative. At first this shift was jarring, and it took me a moment to realize who I was following. It would’ve been helpful to have something at the beginning of the chapter to denote that the point of view was changing. Even stranger, at the very end, Singer continues to follow Theophilus, but switches from first person to third person. Given that anything from Theophilus’ perspective was first person through that point, this was even more jarring, and largely unnecessary.

Still, despite these hiccups, Singer told an engaging drama. Through a mixture of interesting characters and suspenseful story lines, a new perspective on Rome during the early days of the church is presented. I was hoping for more emphasis on the legal side of the story when I opened the book, but ended up equally enjoying what I read. Those interested in historical fictions or early Christianity in ancient Rome will likely find this book quite enjoyable.

4/5 Stars

I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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